Focus on Feedback, not Criticism
- Criticism passes judgement — Critique poses questions
- Criticism finds fault — Critique uncovers opportunity
- Criticism is personal — Critique is objective
- Criticism is vague — Critique is concrete
- Criticism tears down — Critique builds up
- Criticism is ego-centric — Critique is altruistic
- Criticism is adversarial — Critique is cooperative
- Criticism belittles the designer — Critique improves the design
Convince your peer/team you really do want to hear what they think. Show them that your requests for criticism are genuine and that you sincerely appreciate it when they say what they think.
Keep asking for feedback regularly. Try different approaches, venues, and situations. Whatever you do, don’t accept an environment where you aren’t getting feedback.
Empathize with your audience
“What advice do you have for me?” When you ask for advice you automatically shift the giver's position from taking a criticizing place to a more helping position.
Listen with the intent to understand, not to respond. Keep your mindset on understanding and learning the person’s point of view, regardless of how you feel about it. Resist the urge to interrupt with your point of view.
Control your emotions
Pausing, breathing, taking a sip of water. All this will take your immediate defensive reaction down and you will be more open to receiving feedback.
Ignore the things that don’t matter
You’ll leave design reviews with many things to look at. Prioritize on the things that truly matter, compromise on the rest.
Make them a part of the solution
Combat negativity and criticism by helping them become your ally.
Feedback should help solve a difficulty or light a different angle to a task.
Don’t judge, try to be emphatic, it will help you understand better why the person in front of you is stuck or chose this path for their solution.
Lead with unbiased questions
By doing this you will gain two things: A better understanding of the task and, helping your peers organizing their thoughts and explaining their decisions. In many cases, they will come up with more ideas during this process.
Avoid problem solving
The task now should be helping them choose the right path for solution and as important, learn to imply these methods in the following sessions or when they tackle the next roadblock.
When you are giving feedback, remember to:
- Talk about a specific action
- Talk about its effect on you and the work
- Make a specific request for a different action